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Day tripping to Oxford

Thur, Oct 3, 2019

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Today was our first 'long' daytrip from London that we've done. Before leaving home we tried to decide between Oxford and Cambridge - Oxford was the winner. But it is def on the 'return to' list. You'll see why.

(I still had my cough - it was getting worse. I'd be fine then all of a sudden get a bad tickle and cough like I was a three pack a day smoker. My chest was hurting and today was the day I picked up some cough drops at the grocery - I got my days mixed up.)

I had purchased the train tickets ahead to save a little money, but first we stopped at Costa for breakfast, then got the tube to Paddington Station (I forget how big it is there!) and had a bit of a hike to the train platforms. The train takes a little less than an hour - I think we left around 11:20 or so, arriving in Oxford just after noon. Weather-wise we had blue skies to begin, with some clouds. Cool early Oct day. We headed in towards the Oxford Castle but decided to grab lunch before doing anything else. On the grounds around the castle were a few places to eat - we opted for Pizza Express and actually had a tasty pizza there!

Back to the admission office for the Castle and Dungeons - we of course just missed a tour so we bought a ticket for the next one, which was about an hour away. We walked up to the top of Castle Mound (you get a code for the gate with your ticket - you also get a code to use the bathrooms - thank goodness!). That didn't take very long so we decided to skedaddle to the Covered Market and have a look around. It was a short walk. We saw lots of interesting stuff - including a few items I wanted to purchase. We headed back to the admissions at the castle, used the washroom, checked out the tourist trinkets then our tour began. It's a little pricey but we found it interesting - I think it took about 40-50 min or so. It started with a video about the history of the castle then you can go up a few flights of circular stairs for some great views over the city. They give you about 5 min up there, then back down and you go to the dungeon part and hear stories about that. After the walk thru, there is a small museum that we prob spent 10-15 min looking thru - about who was tossed into the clink and their 'crimes' and whatnot. I'd recommend it if you like that kind of thing.

After, we headed back to the market where I picked up a cute robin pin I'd spotted and a necklace for a relative. Hubs found a cool t-shirt shop but they didn't have his size in the ones he liked. We then just wandered around a little - checking out the college buildings but not sure what we could and couldn't go in to, so we didn't go into any. There was a bookstore hubs wanted to visit (he'd ordered a book from amazon and it came from this store - Blackwell's). I took the opportunity to sit while he had a look around (no purchases). We walked around the shopping area - found a Clarks shoe store but hubs had no luck finding a pair he liked in his size. We found Oxford's Bridge of Sighs (oh, by now it was raining - steady but light) and the Radcliffe Camera (no, we couldn't go in). We visited the Ashmolean Museum and wandered around there for over an hour - lots of stuff to see and we saw maybe half. I believe near the covered market was a more modern mall - we had popped our heads in before going back to the castle and spotted (trumpets from on high!) a Thornton's shop! We LOVE their fudge and the store we thought was in London seemed to have disappeared. We took notice of the mall closing time to make sure we'd make it back (didn't want to carry fudge around - it's heavy!). There was also a Krispy Kreme - so when we came back we picked up a donut and 6 bags of fudge and some small bags of chocolate.

By now it was raining a little harder and we were getting really hungry - we'd tried a pub over near the Bridge, but they were all booked up. We found ourselves on George St, which seemed to have a ton of restaurants. So we wandered and perused the menus, settling on one called Wig and Pen. It was - OK. Kinda like a Wetherspoons type deal, where you sit with a menu, order at the bar and they give you a number for your table then come with your meal. It took awhile to come. I ordered steak and ale pie - it was OK. The pastry was tough. Hubs got hunter chicken, but it was overwhelmed by the bbq sauce. Hindsight, we should have went to Bella Italia across the road - we've had their food in London a few times and enjoy it.

We were beat after that - walked back to the train station. Arriving back in London, we decided to look around the shops at Paddington Station. My mom really enjoyed the Paddington movies, so we found - what else - a Paddington shop where I picked her up a coffee mug. We found the WH Smith hoping to find my favourite crafting magazines, but this was a smaller shop and they didn't have them. We decided to head back and scanned thru the gates at the tube, realizing we were in the wrong part of the station for the line we needed - well, there went that tube ride down the drain!

Overall, we did enjoy Oxford but only got to see about 3/5ths of what we'd hoped. There was another museum we wanted to see - Pitt Rivers Museum. We would have liked to explore the university a little more - the old Bodleian Library for one. We didn't even get in to Christchurch Cathedral or check out any of the gardens. The weather turning cool and rainy dampened our enthusiasm a little. I think probably in a few years after seeing Cambridge, we will def revisit Oxford - maybe even do an overnight. And hopefully on a day that isn't so cool and wet!

Posted by u2traveller 06:23 Archived in United Kingdom

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